Recently I purchased an air ticket to Brittan from a travel agent. When I presented myself at the check in counter, I was told that I need a visa to enter Brittan and wasn’t allowed onto the flight. Being a South African Citizen I was totally taken aback. Unbeknown to me, the visa regulations changed in the early part of last year. Prior to this South Africans didn’t need a visa to visit Brittan.
The travel agent wants to charge me the maximum cancellation fee. However, I believe that it is up to the agent to ensure that a traveler has the necessary travel documents prior to issuing a ticket. Therefore my question is; “who should carry the loss, the agent or I”.
2 Answers from Attorneys
Your loss. In the contract of carriage, which you can get from the airline's website, it says that passengers are responsible for compliance with travel documentation requirements.
If you are dealing with an independent travel agent and he/she knew of your citizenship yet failed to advise you, or advised you incorrectly, I believe you would at minimum have cause to refuse to pay the cancellation fee to the travel agent.
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